Originally Published in Themis Technologies
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak approved a new youth mobility partnership scheme on Wednesday, 16th November 2022, allowing 3,000 Indians between the ages of 18 and 30 with bachelor's degrees to live and work in the UK for up to two years.
The reciprocating programme, which was inked as part of the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) last year and will now formally commence in early 2023, will also include British nationals who live and work in India. Sunak introduced the scheme as part of the UK's Indo-Pacific strategy during the G20 Summit in Bali, when he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ratify the new customised route. According to Downing Street, this makes India the first visa-national country to benefit from such a programme.
The introduction of the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme is hailed as an important milestone for the two countries’ relations as well as for the UK's broader commitment to building more significant ties with the Indo-Pacific region in order to boost both the Indian and British economies. Additionally, it is viewed as an effort to advance the existing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, which are now anticipated to last until at least March of the following year.
According to Downing Street, this FTA would be the first of its kind that India has signed with a European nation and would strengthen the UK-India trade relationship, which is worth GBP 24 billion a year. Since over a quarter of all international students in the UK are from India and Indian investment in the UK supports 95,000 jobs throughout the UK, it was noted the UK has more ties to India than virtually any other country in the Indo-Pacific region.
In parallel to the mobility partnership with India, both the countries are also enhancing their capacity to deport immigration offenders. In May 2021, the UK and India signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding to improve travel between the two nations, repatriating individuals who have no legal right to be in the UK or India, respectively, and exchanging best practices on organised immigration crime.